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TMC duo earns All-American honors

Lawson named to first team, Marchesani to second

Posted: December 12, 2009 10:39 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2009 4:30 a.m.

Kevin Lawson

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Prior to The Master’s College men’s soccer team’s landmark trip to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Tournament finals on Dec. 5, two players reached individual milestones of their own.

Senior goalkeeper Kevin Lawson was named a first-team NAIA All-American and junior forward Jake Marchesani was selected to the second team, moments before the Mustangs fell 1-0 to Lindsey Wilson College in an embattled championship game in Fresno.

Lawson is TMC’s first NAIA All-American first-teamer since Chris Palm in 1988. Fabio Joaquim, an assistant coach on the Mustangs’ 2009 squad, was an honorable mention in 2008.

“One thing that we kind of forget is where the talent and blessing come from and the attitude, and pride throws us off,” said Lawson about the legacy he hopes to leave behind. “Being humble and always just remembering that God is the one that gave the talent.”

The senior keeper, who hales from Kingston, Jamaica, recorded 14 shutouts and a 0.53 goals against average in 2009. Both numbers rank second on the  Mustangs’s all-time list.

“I would say Kevin’s legacy has been what a lot of people are missing nowadays, which is a commitment to a single school,” said Mustangs head coach Jim Rickard. “He wanted to make The Master’s College the best it could be.”

Lawson was also named the NAIA Tournament’s defensive most valuable player.

Moving on without Lawson next season will be difficult, Rickard said, but the hope is to find someone with a skill set to help fill the void.

“I’ll never have another Kevin again,” Rickard said.

Lawson’s stellar season came amidst a string of injuries, none of which appeared to hinder his performance.

According to Lawson, it was the support of his teammates that helped him through a bruised shoulder suffered in the first week of practice and a bruised hip sustained during the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament.

“That was the key thing,” Lawson said. “Just having guys around me to motivate me to keep going and the coaches.”

Marchesani was one of those guys.

On the season, he tallied nine goals and 11 assists.

“He was just that consistent offensive player that we need,” Rickard said. “We could count on him to score a big goal or get an assist or have good service for other people. I think that is one of the things that I tell the guys most. ‘I want you playing well, but I want you playing consistent.”

Both Rickard and Marchesani credited the junior’s offseason workout program and resulting fitness as key factors for his success.

Still, that achievement caught Marchesani off guard.

“I was pretty surprised, but honored,” he said. “I had a goal going into the season to be all conference, but I didn’t expect All-American.”

Although Lawson, who will be attending a Major League Soccer combine this week, is out of eligibility, Marchesani will be back next season.

He will be joined by a host of talent that will look to build upon 2009’s success.

And given the amount of attention they garnered this year, many more Mustangs could find themselves in line for similar recognition.

 

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